BLOUNTVILLE — Matthew Burkeen was overcome with emotion when the reality of the moment set in.

The Yamaha rider from Cary, North Carolina, won the most prestigious race of his career and the most meaningful for him personally. He honored the memory of one of his closest friends Sunday by leading wire-to-wire in the sixth annual Cody Gragg Memorial Race at the Vurbmoto Top Gun Showdown at Muddy Creek Raceway.

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Jeff Birchfield is a sports writer for the Johnson City Press with a lifelong passion for motorsports. The father of two attended ETSU and served in the Tennessee Army National Guard.

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